Boom Goes the Dynamite: Hapless Robbers Blow Up German Bank

Thieves in Germany would seem to have been a bit overeager in their attempt to crack open a cash machine using explosives on Sunday night. The resulting blast destroyed the entire bank branch, causing hundreds of thousands of euros in damage.

Photo Gallery: Explosive Bank Robbery Photos
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Thieves are, of course, well known for extreme creativity when it comes to getting their hands on money that doesn't belong to them. But if all else fails, one can always turn to explosives.

That, at least, seems to have been the preferred strategy of bank robbers in the tiny western German town of Nottuln-Darup. The miscreants, however, appear not to have had the training required to adequately estimate the size of the detonation necessary to crack open the cash machine they had chosen as a target. Instead, the explosion destroyed the entire bank branch with one massive blast.

"It is a spooky atmosphere here," a police spokesman told reporters on Monday morning. "The fire department has set up an emergency power supply. Damage to the building is likely to be worth several hundred thousands of euros." The spokesman said it was unclear whether the building sustained significant structural damage and that experts had been called in to inspect the structure.

Miraculously, nobody was injured in the blast, despite debris ending up some 80 meters (260 feet) away. Residents of the apartments in the upper floors of the three-story building were quickly evacuated.

Initially, police were unsure whether the thieves had actually been able to access the cash they were after -- it initially proved difficult to even find the cash machine amid the rubble. On Monday afternoon, however, police told SPIEGEL ONLINE that some cash had been removed, but it remained unclear how much.

It was also unknown on Monday afternoon who might have been responsible for the outsized explosion. Police have, however, been able to locate the getaway car some 500 meters from the destroyed bank branch. The vehicle had been stolen earlier.

cgh -- with wire reports

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